Do moths really eat clothes?

Have you ever experienced opening your wardrobe just to find out that there is damage to your clothes? This experience is relatable to many people, and it is sure to bring frustration to anyone who encounters it. Upon checking, you realized that moths are living in your wardrobe, which causes the damages in your clothes.

Now our question is, what are they doing in the clothes that are resulting in damages?

Do they eat clothes?

It is a common misbelief by many people – saying that moths eat clothes and is responsible for creating the hole through your favorite shirt. However, this is not entirely false since that moths do play a role in damaging our clothes.

A more accurate explanation is that moths are responsible for laying eggs on our clothes. Once those eggs hatch, it will become larvae that have mouths which they use to eat clothes.

An adult moth doesn’t have the capability to eat, not just clothes but anything else since they don’t have mouths. Adult moths merely exist just for mating. During their caterpillar stage is the time wherein they have mouths.

When an adult female lays its eggs, it does not just lay their eggs in any clothes available. As much as possible, they choose moist places. Furthermore, they tend to be picky when it comes to the clothes since their larvae’s diet mainly requires protein, which we can find in keratin that is composed of several fibrous structural proteins.

We can find keratin in every animal fiber and our hair and skin. Meaning to say, moths can even eat our hair if given a chance. But the simplest thing that they can eat is our clothes since they can just hide inside the wardrobe without us noticing. Mainly they eat clothes made of animal fibers, such as wool, fur, cashmere, silk, cotton, linen, feathers, lint, and others. Furthermore, if they are on a cloth that does not meet their standards, they can just cut through their way to find the right food for their diet.

All of these happen during their first two weeks up to four weeks. This age of the larvae is when they are preparing to make their cocoon, in which they need to consume large amounts of protein from clothes.

One way to keep moths away from our clothes is to make sure that they are dry. Regularly check your wardrobe for any signs of moths or any other insects. If found, make sure that they didn’t have the chance to lay their eggs on any of your clothes.

More about moths

Despite the frustration they bring to our homes, moths also have a lot of exciting features that might catch our interests.

Moths are close relatives to butterflies and belong to the same order – Lepidoptera. However, moths outnumbered butterflies with a ratio of nine to one. Meaning to say, out of all the Lepidoptera, ninety percent of it is moths. Furthermore, scientists already discovered and studied more than 135,000 different species of moths.

Most moths are nocturnal insects, which means that they are more active at night. However, some moths appear to be livelier during daylight.

An interesting fact about their species is that they come in various sizes. Some moths happen to be significantly small and are referred to as micromoths. The smallest micromoth in the world is in Africa, with its wingspan of two millimeters. On the contrary, there is also an exceptionally large moth called the Thysania Aggrippina, which has a wingspan of twenty-eight centimeters, similar to the size of a dinner plate.

Moreover, scientists also consider moths as essential pollinators. When we think about pollinating, the first things that come in mind are butterflies and bees, and moths are always not in the picture. However, studies show that moths are capable of pollinating plants – mainly the Yucca plant.

These are only some of the many interesting facts about moths. It is apparent that even if moths bring frustrations to our homes, mainly inside our closets, they prove to be essential creatures outside our house. Just remember to keep your wardrobe clean and free of moisture to prevent moths from invading and damaging your clothes.

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